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Bob Gammer
Moderator - Board of Elders

Prayer, Leadership Development, Bold Outreach, Discipleship

Our God is faithful at all times. Even through a full year of COVID restrictions, 2021 saw God leading Westwood through challenges and He has opened a window on new ministry -- more on that later.

The limits placed on worship gatherings this past year, including full closures, put the Board of Elders between a rock and a hard place at times. We leaned into prayer even more, seeking answers, wisdom and direction. Our Pastoral team poured themselves into their ministries, selflessly adjusting to meet the needs of the congregation...

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Rob Dyck
Lead Pastor

WELCOME!

Reflecting on this past year from a leadership vantage, one phrase comes to mind…patient endurance.  It seems to me that is an apt descriptor as our church family, as many others, have sought to pursue the mission Jesus has for His church while striving to honour and respect those in authority and loving neighbor as ourselves.  It has tested our patience and endurance!  However, we are grateful for the victories and celebrations we did experience through the year...

WE CELEBRATE HOW GOD IS WORKING!

Strategic Priorities: PRAY

“One highlight was the way I got to see the youth leaders pray for the youth.  It has happened on multiple occasions that youth leaders would have a student on their heart in prayer and learn after the fact of a situation that the Holy Spirit had them praying for!”
Pastor David
While speaking about facing trials, James says that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God, who gives generously (James 1:2-5). So many times this year, we have heard Life Group leaders and group members refer to seeking, asking, waiting, and trusting God.  Countless times we have heard people say that the Lord answered their prayers for direction or unity or love, and/or changed their minds and hearts as they encountered him.  Perhaps sometimes in the past you have sensed yourself or others speaking a bit glibly about “praying about it,” with the impression that the proper Christian response is being said without much sense of genuine need or confidence in God.  I have done that!  Well, praise God, because the widespread trial of covid seems to be very much giving rise to ardent seeking and dependence on him.

In 2021, we implemented a prayer piece into each of our Sunday worship service outlines, with the intention of praying into the unity of the church of Prince George. We reach out to city churches and ministries, letting them know we are praying for them and asking for specific requests.  Our churches need the prayer support and it is making a difference!

    Did you know...

    ...that a prayer group meets online and in person every Wednesday morning at 8:30 am?

    Strategic Priorities:

    MAKE DISCIPLES
    “The youth worship team has really started to play as a band and they no longer need me to run the practice or run songs with them, they are doing it all on their own! It has been really cool to see leaders in the band step up and take charge!”
    Pastor David
    “2021 was a year of discovery as I learned a lot of new things about myself.  I witnessed God working in my life as He gave me the courage to be more vulnerable and have difficult conversations that I would have normally avoided.  I am trusting God for ongoing wisdom and courage to tackle challenges as they arise.”
    Courtenay Hopson

    “2021 was a mix of blessings and challenges. We could see that God had his hand on everything. We know there is a reason we are passing through some of our challenges and believe that God is using it for our best.  We witnessed God working in a lot of the ministries that we are personally involved in, especially in both Life Groups of which we are a part.  These groups were a tremendous source of encouragement to us.   Even though it has been a hard year, losing loved ones, the encouragement we received from those around us was so good for us.  God is good all the time. He is a good, good Father. We are trusting God to give us a clear direction for our lives and for the ministries in our church."

    Rose and Nael Tohme

    "Last year, I felt pretty challenged in terms of leading worship in an empty room. I felt led to consider the basics of corporate worship, and encouraging (or discipling) our congregation. I began to lead my team and our congregation with a desire for all of us to remember God’s goodness. I felt that, for those engaging online, or for those who attended an in-person service during the months we were able to do that, it was crucial for us to turn our eyes to the Lord together, remembering who He has been, is, and will be, despite what our world looked or felt like amidst the pandemic. This wasn’t something new that I thought I’d try, but I discovered through different challenges that this was really at the heart of a believers’ gathering.  Even though we weren’t gathering the way we desired, it was a timeless truth that I clung to personally and I felt it would help the church as a whole as we processed every step of the pandemic together."

    Pastor Corinne

      A note from Pastor Robin to our Life Group Leaders…

      “We simply want to give the deepest of thanks to all our Life Group leaders – twenty people – for their faithful pressing on in discipling/leading their group members.  You have done the heavy lifting, both in the weeks you have felt strong and in those when you have felt weak.  You have invited your members to help you.  May the Lord bless you for your work in his church.  There is an older couple in our church who have been faithfully discipled and have led others for years, including in Life Groups.  Now, they are pouring their lives into discipling their grandson as he navigates this very hard world our young adults are living in.  They are walking with him daily, teaching him how to depend on Jesus in practical situations, and modelling unfailing love.  It is simply beautiful.  Our Life Groups have many grandparents in them, doing likewise.”

      Did you know...

      ... that approximately 200 individuals are connected to a Life Group where community, worship, Bible study, prayer, and accountability happens?

      Strategic Priorities:

      BOLD OUTREACH
      “Playing ball Hockey at the MCC Apartments was a huge highlight! We are excited to do lots more with them in the future.”
      These times have not been the easiest for mission through our Life Groups.  Gatherings have been so limited and masks required in so many places.  Still, individuals and groups seized the opportunities of summertime for connecting with neighbours and gathering around firepits. One group invited Pastor Ryan to equip them in genuine gospel conversations (he is happy to lead others through this).  One Zoom Life Group saw an older female seeker blossom with faith in Jesus before their eyes.  In turn, that new life was contagious – her son asked for a bible so he could see what was making such a huge, wonderful change in his mother’s life.  Praise the Lord! I (Robin) found that many times when I prayed quietly for a neighbour, within minutes they came by for a chat or I had an immediate opportunity that touched them to loan wheelbarrow (help yourself to my yard anytime!).  I say this to note that the Father is always working!

      Did you know...

      ...that we have Westwooders in the marketplace who hold weekly Bible studies and prayer times with colleagues seeking answers to their faith questions?

      ...that one of our university student puts a sign on their study table at UNBC that says, “do you want to play crib?”  Guess what happens?  Students sit down, play a game, and conversation ensues about faith and life!

      Hello Westwood Family!

      I write to you from a coffee shop in North Africa.  Why am I here, you may ask?  Well, simply put, I felt Jesus invite me here.  I’ve had a growing groaning heart for the Middle East since I first visited in 2017 and recently, I’ve felt the Lord invite me to “come and see.”  As I read through the Gospel of John and Revelation, I saw this gentle and generous invitation highlighted and extended to me for this trip.

      I'll be back in Canada at the end of February and from there I will make decisions and preparations for what’s next. Once home, I’d love to connect and chat with anyone who wants to hear more.  Thank you for praying for me and encouraging me to hear God and follow him.  It means more than you know.

      Until next time, 
      Rachael Klassen

      Strategic Priorities:

      DEVELOP LEADERS

      Did you know...

      ... that we have five young adults deepening their biblical and spiritual foundations and exploring further ministry?

      • Emily Rogers – Columbia Bible College
      • Mitch Nikkel – Columbia Bible College
      • Adriana Dyck - Prairie Bible College
      • Malia Dyck – Capernwray Hall Bible School
      • Nolan Hanson – Mennonite Brethren Seminary

      ... that Westwood Church supports our Bible College/Seminary students with prayer, leadership opportunities, and financial bursaries?

      Developing leaders is often a matter of helping people see a need in front of them, and then encouraging them to take the risk of giving themselves to be used by God to meet the need.  People find themselves growing as leaders when they risk, trust, and then work…and then risk, trust and work some more.  At least one leader grew this year as they stretched themselves further in studying scripture passages for the benefit of helping their Life Group discover more treasure in the Word.  Their investment of time benefited them and others.  Other leaders and members pressed in to dealing with disharmony in their groups, when it would be easier to withdraw or give up.  (This reality is not surprising – we are humans!)  God anticipates our struggles, and his word guides us in learning to honour and love. Two of our life group leaders are now before us at the AGM as elder candidates.  Life Groups are a good place to develop the wisdom and character to lead the broader church...

      CHILDREN'S MINISTRY

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      Twyla Morgan
      Children's Ministry Leader

      2021 held many unforeseen joys and a few challenges for me in the role of Children’s Ministry Leader, but at the root of it there was always hope.  Hope that we could anticipate what would be needed and be prepared for whatever possibilities might present themselves. Hope that we could meet in person and connect with the kids and our volunteers in as many ways as possible. Hope that we could partner in tangible ways with our parents and provide some direction to help them disciple their children...

      YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY

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      Craig Reimer
      Young Adults & Online Ministries Pastor

      Ministry reports can be a struggle to write.  Especially during a pandemic.  What is God doing?  What is happening with our church family?  What do our online numbers really indicate?  What has happened to our young adults?  Where is everybody?

      When young adults started this past year, we were meeting in room 203 and could have anywhere from 12-20 young adults in attendance.  We were growing.  Our focus was on practices of prayer and worship, bible study, and life application.  We had young adults attending...

      As we look ahead to the coming year, we are focusing on being and making disciples using four verbs:

      LOVE GOD

      Disciple-makers love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

      LOVE PEOPLE

      Disciple-makers love their neighbors as themselves.

      MAKE DISCIPLES

      Disciple-makers proclaim Christ to a lost world.

      BEGIN A MOVEMENT

      Disciple-makers help other to Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples.

      CARE MINISTRY

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      Robin Bjarnason
      Life Group Ministry Pastor

      Our formal Care Ministries in 2021 have been primarily expressions of discipleship and prayer.

      During 2021, the Meal Train was used nine times – thank you, cooks and bakers!  The Moving Team/Essential Repairs Team was on hand but had no requests – thanks for remaining available, folks!  Thank you to Sylvia and Del Reinheimer for continuing to ably head up these coordinated practical acts of care.  There have been innumerable instances of the Westwood people of God sending cards, listening, bringing soup, holding babies, driving people to appointments, mowing lawns and shovelling snow(!) which happen quietly behind the scenes all year long...

      ONLINE MINISTRY

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      Craig Reimer
      Young Adult & Online Ministry Pastor

      When we were forced online at the start of the pandemic it was a scramble to get things up and running.  This past year has been one of continued learning and growth for our whole team.  The beauty of this past year was being able to develop a rhythm as a worship team, speaking team, and production team.  I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who was part of bringing our services online.  It would not have happened without our amazing volunteers.  A special thanks to Jenny Baerg, who was essential in bringing words to screens and homes.

      In this coming year we will continue to work on improving the quality of the live-stream and building our team of volunteers.  Thanks so much to Life Church for the Church Online Platform that they allow us to use at no cost.

      Some online stats our church family may find interesting:

      An average of 433 unique attendees use the church online platform every month.

      In the past 90 days we had 1800 unique viewers on YouTube.
      We have 191 subscribers to our Youtube channel.
      We experienced 5 salvations!!!

        NEW MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES

        We are excited to announce church planting in MCC apartments!

        Westwood Church Board of Elders together with Pastors Rob and Ryan have been exploring disciplemaking and church planting in Prince George since fall 2019.  With the significant ministry favour God has granted to Westwood Church within the MCC Apartments over the past seven plus years, the Board of Elders has affirmed a direction that would see intentional church planting efforts happen within the apartments.  A God sized vision is to see every apartment complex under the umbrella of MCC Legacy have a healthy church plant functioning under Westwood’s oversight in the coming years!  Imagine that!  With four partners coming together to pursue this dream (Westwood Church, MCC Legacy, MCC, and Message Canada), we believe we can continue to see God’s kingdom to bear throughout our city!

        To catch the vision for this new ministry initiative, come to an in person or online worship service, as we focus on "Moving into the Neighbourhood", on February 13, 20, and 27!

        LOOKING AHEAD...

        While we seek to hold our plans with open hands, here are a few staff ministry goals moving forward…

        … in discipleship.  There’s hope that the pandemic is nearing a shift, and we might be able to see life beyond.  If and when we do that, I know that many will be desiring to “rebuild,” either their spiritual life, or their engagement in the local church, or working on finding healing from fractured relationships, or…the list goes on.  How can I, through my leadership in my ministry and as a disciple, walk alongside others as we begin to heal? (Pastor Corinne)

        … investing more deeply with our relationship with kids at the MCC Apartments and with the street community downtown. (Pastor David)

        … new ways to connect with kids individually (hopefully in person), while supporting our parents to actively engage in the spiritual parenting process as they disciple their children. (Twyla Morgan)

        … that a small team of individuals might be called to “move in” to the MCC Apartments and join Nolan and Emily Hanson in planting a church. (Pastor Ryan)

        … that a long-term plan for Dufferin Apartments be clarified. (Pastor Rob)

        THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVANT LEADERSHIP!

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        Shirley Madsen

        "It is difficult to believe that just over six years ago I was discerned to serve on the Board of Elders at Westwood.  Looking back, so much has happened....
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        Sarah Hanson

        Sarah will be sharing about her time on the Board of Elders at our Annual General Meeting on Sunday, February 27 at 2 pm. Check out all the details HERE.

        Johannes Giede

        1963-2021

        We pay tribute to Johannes who served in many leadership roles at Westwood for the past thirty years.  His gifts of time, teaching, generosity, wisdom, and no-nonsense leadership have benefitted our church family greatly.  While he left us too early, we are grateful for his love for Jesus, his commitment to his family, and his passion to serve his church family.  Until we meet again!

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        LEADERSHIP DISCERNMENT

        Westwood Church's Board of Elders is discerned through an intentional and prayerful process led by a Leadership Discernment Team (LDT), affirmed by the Board of Elders, and ultimately approved by the membership of Westwood Church.  The LDT is currently comprised of Pastor Robin Bjarnason, Tom Lavigne, Steve Chase, Ken Gagnon, and Pastor Rob Dyck.  To learn more about this process, we invite you to contact any of these team members.  The following three individuals (Keith Warkentin, Amy Dobson, Rob Larson) have been discerned and are recommended to serve on the Board of Elders.  Please familiarize yourself with them through their bios or contact them personally if you would like to speak with them personally, and most importantly, please pray for them and our church family as we strive to lead our church family with skillful hands, wise discernment, and an integrity of heart.         
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        Keith Warkentin

        Kerri and I have 3 children Justin (15), Breanne (13) and Nathan (11).  My parents are Ron and Arleen Warkentin.  Westwood Church has been my church family since 1980 when my parents moved to Prince George from Abbotsford.  My life as a Christian has benefited from many people who have poured into me spiritually and I treasure so many people from this church over many years...
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        Amy Dobson

        Jared and I have three kids, two in elementary school and one in high school.  We have been at Westwood for almost 7 years.  I have been involved with Life Groups, Prayer Ministry and Children's and Youth Ministries.  I have a passion to see people loved and cared for so that they can meet Jesus.  We love how welcomed and accepted we felt from the first day we arrived at Westwood.  I appreciate the connections I have made and the friendships I have been able to develop with many different generations...

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        Rob Larson

        Sandra and I have been attending Westwood regularly since 1997 and formally committed to membership twenty years ago.  During those years we have been involved in Children's and Youth ministry, have hosted and led bible studies as well as been involved in many special events such as Dessert Concerts and Church in the Park.  I have personally been on a Westwood missions trip to Thailand, have been an elder in the past, am currently chairing the finance team, as well as served as the church administrator...

        FINANCIAL REPORT

        • Rob Larson is currently the interim chair of the finance team.
        • God continues to bless Westwood Church through His people.
        • Giving has gone down slightly in the past 2 years.
        • Spending was slightly higher in 2021 compared to 2020 as the online presence has become a focus and most staffing has returned to pre-COVID levels.
        • There were still some savings in staffing, as well as gas and electricity savings.
        • From the reserve fund, we completed the approved auditorium renovations which included replacing old acoustic panels, painting walls and replacing chair rails.
        • A big unexpected expense in 2021 was an increase of our insurance coverage from $16,000 to $35,573.
        • Expenses for 2022 are expected to increase as we look forward to in-person services and full staffing for 2022.
        • In 2021 we had no rental income, but in 2022 we expect to start renting our building which will increase our income.
        • We have a substantial amount in the reserve account, and will look at ways to be fiscally responsible with this.
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